Azure Management services: what's new in February 2022

The month of February was full of news and there are several updates that have affected the Azure management services. This article provides an overview of the month's top news, so that we can stay up to date on these topics and have the necessary references to conduct further insights.

The following diagram shows the different areas related to management, which are covered in this series of articles, in order to stay up to date on these topics and to better deploy and maintain applications and resources.

Figure 1 – Management services in Azure overview


Azure Monitor

Azure Monitor Agent: new feature to update the extension automatically

With the new Azure Monitor agent, you can get important updates and security fixes by enabling the automatic extension update function within the agent. Basically, when an update is published, the extension updates and replaces the existing version present in the virtual machine or in the scale set.

Azure Monitor Agent: improved Syslog RFC compliance

The latest version of the Azure Monitor agent is now capable of collecting syslog events from the following vendors, standard device types and formats:

  • Cisco Meraki, ASA, FTD
  • Sophos XG
  • Juniper Networks
  • Corelight Zeek
  • CipherTrust
  • NXLog
  • McAfee
  • CEF (Common Event Format)

Azure IoT Edge monitor

Thanks to a deep integration with Azure Monitor it is possible to simplify the monitor of Azure IoT Edge devices, through a set of built-in metrics, the IoT Edge Metrics Collector module and a set of “curated visualization”. Through this integration it is possible:

  • Analyze the efficiency of the solution
  • Choose the hardware to meet the performance demands of the devices
  • Monitor blocked resources
  • Proactively identify problems
  • Resolve problems quickly
  • Create custom metrics and dashboards

Ability to set an exact time range in queries

In the queries on the Log Analytics workspaces it is now possible to specify a specific time range, in this way it is possible to carry out precise and more targeted searches.

The Azure Monitor ‘action rules’ are now ‘alert processing rules’

Microsoft has renamed the 'action rules” of Azure Monitor in “alert processing rules”, which will continue to provide post-processing capabilities for alerts triggered in Azure Monitor.

Log Analytics data export

The new Azure Monitor Log Analytics data export feature allows you to send log data not only to Log Analytics workspaces, but also to a storage account or Event Hub. Furthermore, data can be streamed continuously from Log Analytics tables to a storage account or to Event Hub if Microsoft has enabled streaming support for those types of tables.

Custom retention for tables AzureActivity and Usage

In Azure Monitor, the ability to set custom retention has been introduced for tables AzureActivity and Usage present in the Log Analytics workspaces . Previously, AzureActivity and Usage had a minimum of retention of 90 days and such data could not be set with a specific retention. Now the minimum retention for those tables remains of 90 days, useful for audit and troubleshooting purposes, but you can customize the retention period.

Possibility to test the Action Groups (preview)

For Azure Monitor action groups, the ability to test notification settings for alerts has been introduced, in order to:

  • Check if the notifications work as expected when creating or updating an action group
  • Self-diagnose the cause of notifications not working as expected

Azure Monitor predictive autoscaling for VM Scale Sets (preview)

Predictive autoscaling, released in preview, uses machine learning algorithms to manage and scale Virtual Machine Scale Sets. This mechanism allows you to predict the overall CPU load on the Virtual Machine Scale Sets, based on historical CPU usage patterns. In this way the scale-out takes place in time to satisfy the demand.


Azure Cost Management

Anomaly detection

Anomaly detection has been introduced in Azure Cost Management. Thanks to this feature it is possible to consult any anomalies on costs, detected by the tool in the Azure subscriptions, in a specific period.

Enterprise agreement component management in Azure Cost Management and Billing

In Azure Cost Management and Billing you can now create, manage and govern departments, accounts, and subscriptions related to enterprise agreement contracts. In particular, from the Azure portal you can perform the following activities:

  • Manage the roles of the enterprise agreement contract
  • Create and manage the hierarchy at the enrollment level(department, account, subscription)
  • View properties and manage policies
  • View usage and charges
  • Download the invoice
  • View and monitor the Microsoft Azure Consumption Commitment balance (MACC)

Updates related toAzure Cost Management and Billing

Microsoft is constantly looking for new methodologies to improve Azure Cost Management and Billing, the solution to provide greater visibility into where costs are accumulating in the cloud, identify and prevent incorrect spending patterns and optimize costs . Inthis article some of the latest improvements and updates regarding this solution are reported.


Microsoft Defender for Cloud

New features, bug fixes and deprecated features of Microsoft Defender for Cloud

Microsoft Defender for Cloud development is constantly evolving and improvements are being made on an ongoing basis. To stay up to date on the latest developments, Microsoft updates this page, this provides information about new features, bug fixes and deprecated features. In particular, this month the main news concern:


Azure Backup

Ability to perform multiple Azure File backups throughout the day

In Azure Backup it is now possible to perform multiple backups during the day, with a maximum frequency of four hours, to take multiple snapshots of the file share. This feature allows you to define a backup schedule in line with working hours, useful for frequent updates to Azure File content. Furthermore, you can use Powershell or the Azure command line interface to create backup policies to generate multiple snapshots during the day according to the defined schedule.

Long term retention for Azure PostgreSQL backup

Azure Backup for PostgreSQL is a scalable solution that does not require the presence of an infrastructure, agents or storage accounts, while providing a simple and consistent experience to centrally manage and monitor backups. Support for long-term backup storage was introduced for this solution.

Automatic backup improvements for SQL Server onboard virtual machines

Automatic backup of Azure Backup, a feature given by the extension of the IaaS SQL agent, provides an automatic backup service for SQL Server on board Azure virtual machines. The following improvements have been added to this functionality:

  • Longer backup retention time in storage account, passing from 30 days to 90 days.
  • Ability to choose for each Azure virtual machine a specific container of the storage account as a destination for backups. Previously, it was only allowed to specify a storage account and all backups flowed into the same container.

Restore point cross region for virtual machines

The restore points of a virtual machine are snapshots that contain the metadata of the virtual machine and are consistent for all the disks associated with it. These recovery points can be used to protect workloads from data loss and corruption. Now it is possible to restore points of the virtual machine in any region, regardless of the region in which the virtual machine is deployed.

Azure Site Recovery

Recovery point extended to 15 days

Azure Site Recovery through replication policies allows you to adjust the retention history of recovery points. It is now allowed to keep recovery points up to 15 days instead of 72 hours. Recovery points will be stored with a frequency of 5 minutes for the first 2 hours. Later, they will be deleted and archived less frequently. You can enter any value between 0 and 15 days to configure the retention period in a retention policy. Furthermore, if necessary, it is possible to enable type recovery points “application-consistent” (disabled by default).

New Update Rollup

For Azure Site Recovery was released theUpdate Rollup 60 that solves several issues and introduces some improvements. The details and the procedure to follow for the installation can be found in the specific KB.

Evaluation of Azure

To test for free and evaluate the services provided by Azure you can access this page.

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